Denver needs to address one major issue: parking. Have you noticed that two cars can’t pass on a side street anymore? Streets are over-crowded with cars on both sides. It can be a real hassle to have to pull over to let the other person by on many of the more narrow streets. Downtown Denver is doing its part to work on the issue, but they can’t address single family home neighborhoods.
Up until a few years ago, traffic and parking in Denver have been occasionally a hassle, but never nearly as bad as cities such as Washington, D.C. or Manhattan. Although there are many rumblings that this had to do with the legalization of marijuana that occurred in Colorado, our real estate market was still pretty cheap (until recently), in comparison to California and New York. Additionally, I.T. and biotechnology jobs have brought a boom of wealthy employees to the area, with considerably more spending power than lower-paying wages/ careers in the city. In some neighborhoods, residents have to get a special permit just to park on their street, so that they don’t get ticketed or even towed. As cities grow, so does the parking issue, from downtown to the suburbs.
The population of Denver is continuing to increase at a fast pace. There are currently a little over 3 million people living in the Denver metro area, and it’s safe to say that the population will continue to grow. The ever-increasing amount of people and vehicles equals a greater need for parking, not only in downtown Denver, but everywhere in the vicinity. Civil engineering projects are typically a few decades behind the current construction, due to massive project costs and votes on which projects take priority. With this in mind, we need a more efficient way to accommodate all of the influx that is still projected to come to the area.
In many of the Denver suburban areas, there are narrow alleys between streets to accommodate the small amounts of traffic that the area used to have. There is never enough street parking in some neighborhoods, and even people who live on a street may not always get the parking spot they prefer when they get home from work. In the suburbs, you can’t expect the city to take care of these issues. It’s the families that need to address the issue themselves. Thankfully, we have other options here in Denver that allow us to keep our beloved Open Spaces, parks, and other beautiful natural surroundings.
There are many recently-built structures that feature storefront properties on the ground floor and residences above, with parking garages built into the basement levels. Although this is a great initial attempt to deal with new parking needs, parking lots and areas take up roughly 20% of the Denver landscape. This is typically an eye-sore, not to mention a tremendous waste of real estate. We need to multi-task our acreage more efficiently. This multi-tasking of space can be applied on a smaller scale, as well.
Many suburban neighborhoods in Denver are converting and/ or tearing down older, smaller houses into contemporary ones. Why not design your new house with the garage below? If you have the ability to dig down, why wouldn’t you start – literally – from the ground up in creating a space that works better for the limited space that you have? If digging a larger space below the soon-to-be-created house is simply not an option, try planning your lot so that you can at least accommodate the number of cars that the house will need at full capacity to help the entire community to cut down on the number of cars that have to be parked on the street. By providing a portion of the solution, each of us can collectively help to get to a better traffic/ lower congestion level in the future.